A Message from the Vice Chairman for Research

I have personally observed the development of anesthesiology during the last eighty to one hundred years. I am not that old, but when I came to the United States from another planet, anesthesiology there was about 30-50 years behind, depending on the indicator chosen. For example, the first endotracheal anesthesia in the Soviet Union was administered in 1948, while in the US it was done in 1880; the first society of anesthesiologists in the US was created in 1905 in New York City while the first society of anesthesiologists meeting in Leningrad took place in 1957; I attended the meeting as a medical student. The development of Anesthesiology has been meteoric! It started as a branch of surgery and was considered a “semi-profession”. Many people, including myself, worked as surgeons with some anesthesia skills. Now, only decades later, we see anesthesiology as a specialty; we have increased the body of knowledge and skills in anesthesiology to the extent that we now have multiple subspecialties, each of which requires continuing lifelong education to function at a competent level. All this has been associated with a significant increase in the quality and safety of anesthesia and has been based on science and on research, which is crucially important for the development of any medical discipline. In 50 years I trust that you will look back at 2015 with a smile and a wonderful feeling of achievement, thinking “how far we have gone!” This will be accomplished by the research you will do and the discoveries some of you will make.

All medical disciplines demand that research plays a crucial role, supported by the academic departments. Our department is not an exception. It invests a lot of resources and efforts into research endeavors. Research in our department is a very important enterprise: every year we publish hundreds of articles and books, we occupy approximately 32,220 sq. ft. of laboratory space, just during last year our researchers obtained more than $22 million (direct and indirect costs) from NIH and other sources. Total number of NIH grants including RO-1s, PPG, PO-1, KO8 is 32. There are also 27 Foundation- and Industry-sponsored projects.

We are conducting basic laboratory research, translational research, clinical research, and research in education of residents and fellows. In this Research website you will find a brief description of our main research activities. To the right are referenced profiles of many of our Principal Investigators (there are more to come…). Although no resident in our program is obligated to do research, anyone who desires to do so is offered multiple opportunities. Researching, or looking for answers, is unbelievably fun. To make a discovery, no matter how small, is to stand on the top of a mountain, to have a feeling that nobody in the world ever had his or her feet on that mountain. To be a pioneer and a discoverer is an amazing reward in life.

A few decades ago Flip Wilson, a famous comedian and actor, said the following about research: “You cannot expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine”. The metaphor may be witty, but it is misleading. Research is not a slot machine and the laboratory is not a casino; one has to learn how to do it; one must have a mentor. We have many excellent ones in the Department. Do not miss an opportunity – find one.

  • Simon Gelman, MD, PhD. FANZCA
  • Vice Chairman for Research